Historical Spotlight: The Reindeer Fairs

May 28, 2021by Media

The Reindeer Fair was started in 1915 as a way to increase interest in the reindeer industry and provide an opportunity for widely dispersed Eskimo herdsmen to exchange ideas. The first fair was hosted by the Kakaruk Herd and Mary’s Igloo and was held near Pilgrim River and on the Seward Peninsula. The Kakaruk Herdsmen used dog teams to invite other herders to join them for this special event. A week spent in friendly rivalry, competitions, and visiting would give everybody an opportunity to observe various methods in action and to exchange techniques of handling the animals. Contests and demonstrations were held in lassoing, sled-lashing, shooting, races, etc. In 1916 the fair was held in February, at the Kruzamapa Hot Springs, across Golden Gate Pass from Nome. At the third and final fair in 1917, Eskimos arrived in their finest fur parkas, and decorated reindeer harnesses with carved pieces of walrus ivory and brightly colored yarn pompoms. In 1918, the influenza epidemic killed most of the most experienced Eskimo deermen and the reindeer fairs were never revived.

 

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OFFICESWhere to find us?
BSNC is headquartered in Nome, has a business office in Anchorage and site locations and offices across the U.S.
OUR LOCATIONSWhere to find us?
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3301 C Street, Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99503
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PO Box 1008. 110 Front Street, Suite 300, Nome, Alaska 99762
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Follow BSNC for news, updates, stories, and opportunities to share in this journey.
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